Summary: I want us to put ourselves in the sandals of the disciples. For some that will be easy because despair is not foreign to you. Bur for others, that may be more difficult because . . . (PowerPoints available - #174
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #174.)
TEXT: Matthew 27:57-66
The disciples must have been devastated. They had been inspired by His teachings. And they had decided to follow Him. It had not been an easy road, but they had willingly left families, homes, & jobs to follow Jesus.
As they walked with Him they had seen amazing things. They had seen Him multiply a few loaves & fishes & feed the multitudes. They saw Him walk on water, & calm an angry storm.
They saw Him straighten crooked limbs & give sight to the blind. He even raised the dead back to life again. Truly, He was the Messiah that God had promised would come!
And last Sunday, when He entered Jerusalem, seemed to be a perfect climax to it all. To be in that crowded parade; to listen to their jubilant “Hosannas” & watch as they waved palm branches & threw flowers before Him. Everything confirmed that they had followed the right man.
B. But now He is dead. How could they have been so wrong? What would they do now? What do you do when your heart is filled with despair? What do you do when your world falls apart?
PROP. Well, what did happen? And what lessons can we apply to our lives today? Our scripture text this morning is Matthew 27:57-66.
I. THE SCENE AT THE TOMB
A. To begin with, the Bible tells us that Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus.
Listen to vs’s 57-58. “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.
“Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.”
What do we know about this man? We don’t know much, but we do know some things about him.
1. First of all, he was from Arimathea, a small town about 20 miles from
Jerusalem. As towns go, Arimathea wasn’t very important, but Joseph himself evidently was.
In fact, Mark 15:43 tells us he was “…a prominent member of the Council…” (That’s the Sanhedrin, the supreme judicial authority of Israel who had illegally condemned Jesus to death).
But Luke 23:51 says that he was “…a good & upright man, who had not consented to their decision & action.”
2. Secondly, Matthew tells us that he was rich. I don’t know about you, but
sometimes we act as if we think that Jesus came to minister only to those who are poor & down & out.
But Jesus Himself said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.” (John 12:32) He came to minister not just to the poor but to the rich, also.
3. Thirdly, Joseph had an acquaintance named Nicodemus who helped him
bury Jesus. Listen to John 19:39, “He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh & aloes, about 75 pounds.”
Matthew 27:59-60 goes on to say, “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, & placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb & went away.”
So Joseph & Nicodemus together buried Jesus. They shared the cost. Joseph paid for the tomb, & Nicodemus paid for the burial spices. Why did they do this?
4. The apostle John gives a reason when he writes in John 19:38,
“Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.”
ILL. That reminds me of the little boy who had adopted a stray dog. Someone asked, “What kind of dog is that?” He answered, “He’s a police dog.” The man said, “He doesn’t look like a police dog.” The boy answered, “That’s because he’s in the secret service.”
There are some Christians who seem to be in the secret service, following Jesus at a distance. They want to be His disciples, but like Joseph of Arimathea, they’re not sure they want everyone else to know. So they keep their faith secret.
Maybe now, when it was too late, Joseph & Nicodemus were trying to make amends, by doing the only thing left to do - bury the body of Jesus.
B. But Joseph & Nicodemus weren’t the only ones at the tomb. Vs. 61 says, “Mary Magdalene & the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.”
Do you realize that Jesus acted differently toward women than the average Jewish man? He treated women with respect. He acknowledged the presence of women. He spoke to them in public. No rabbi or Pharisee would have done that!